Annie Barrett
January 07, 2009 AT 04:00 PM EST

“The world’s now placid, featureless, and culturally dead: nothing really new has been created since the Overlords came. The reason’s obvious. There’s nothing left to struggle for, and there are too many distractions and entertainments. Do you realize that every day something like five hundred hours of radio and TV pour out over the various channels? If you went without sleep and did nothing else, you could follow less than a twentieth of the entertainment that’s available at the turn of a switch! No wonder that people are becoming passive sponges — absorbing but never creating. Did you know that the average viewing time per person is now three hours a day? Soon people won’t be living their own lives any more. It will be a full-time job keeping up with the various family serials on TV!” — The ever-prescient Arthur C. Clarke, in 1953’s Childhood’s End.

TRIVIA: Did you know Led Zeppelin’s album cover for Houses of the Holy was based on Childhood’s End? SO COOL. Plus, terrifying!

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